Common Questions From Passengers After a Car Accident in Alabama
When a car crash occurs, it’s not just the drivers who suffer injuries. As Birmingham car accident lawyers, we often hear from passengers who want to know if they can recover compensation.
Generally, car accident victims can file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Your legal options as an injured passenger depend on who was at fault. If another driver hits your friend’s car, you file a claim against the driver’s insurance company. If the driver you were riding causes the accident, things are more complicated.
In this article, we look at the details of how passengers can file a claim after a car accident in Alabama.
Who Pays for Passenger Injuries in a Car Crash Claim?
If another driver hits the car you are riding in, the driver’s insurance should pay for your injuries up to policy limits. Alabama law requires all drivers to carry insurance.
The minimum amount of Alabama auto insurance coverage is $25,000/$50,000/$25,000. In the event of a covered accident, limits for bodily injury are $25,000 per person, with a total maximum of $50,000 per incident. It also covers up to $25,000 for damage to another person’s property.
Can I File a Claim If I Was Riding With the Driver Who Caused the Crash?
If the driver you were riding with caused the accident, you should get a lawyer’s professional opinion before filing an insurance claim.
Alabama has a guest passenger law. This means that you generally can’t file a claim if you were riding in the car of the driver who caused the accident, but there are two important exceptions. You can still file a claim if the driver causes an accident through “willful or wanton misconduct” such as speeding or texting and driving. You can also file a claim if the driver was paid.
Also, a passenger may be unable to claim compensation if they knowingly rode with a driver who was drunk.
What Compensation Can I Recover?
If you were injured as a passenger, you can be compensated for the following:
You’re entitled to recover both current and future medical bills. You may require surgery and physical therapy. You may need long-term treatment. If this is the case, your lawyer will demand that you’re reimbursed for this.
Chances are, if you get hurt, you’ll miss time from work. You can submit timesheets to show how much time you’ve missed.
Pain and Suffering
These are a type of non-economic damages. You can’t prove pain and suffering with receipts. Your Alabama auto accident lawyer will have to prove that you experienced pain and suffering in order for you to recover.
What If the Driver Is Uninsured?
What happens if the driver who hits your friend’s car is uninsured or underinsured? If you are riding with a driver who has uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage (UM/UIM), this can help cover the costs of your injuries.
You could also sue the at-fault driver directly. However, an uninsured/underinsured doesn’t have many assets.
How Do I Get a Car Accident Report?
If you were injured in a car accident as a passenger, you should get a copy of the police report as this provides important evidence in a personal injury claim.
You can request a crash report from the Birmingham police department’s website. Any person can receive a copy of a wreck report by having the name(s) of the driver, location of the accident, date, or the case number. There is a $5 dollar charge to order an accident report.
If you order a report from the Birmingham police department, you must pick up the report in person and provide identification.
You can also get a crash report by filling out the crash report form at the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency website. There is a $17 fee for the crash report. With this option, you will have immediate access to a PDF copy of the report.
You can also get the crash report by visiting an Alabama State Police post. Make sure you have a copy of your photo ID with you.
Call Our Birmingham Car Accident Lawyers
If you’re injured in a car accident in Alabama, you need to call the accident lawyers at Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton right away. You only have a certain amount of time to file your claim. If you miss this deadline, your case will be barred forever.
Your attorney can deal with the insurance company on your behalf. They’ll try to get your claim settled for you. If they can’t, they will file a lawsuit on your behalf. At Hare Wynn, we have helped many passengers injured in car accidents recover large settlements.
Schedule a free consultation with a Birmingham car accident lawyer today by calling 800-568-5330 or using our online contact form.